Wondering about the future of digital learning?

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2012 has been one eventful year....

  • The cruise ship, Costa Concordia, runs aground in Italy.
  • Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee--the 60th anniversary of becoming Britain's Monarch.
  • The tornadoes of Indiana and Kentucky in March kill 27 people.
  • Major automobile manufacturer, Toyota Motor Co., announces the largest recall in 16 years.
  • Indonesia is struck by a massive 8.6 magnitude earthquake with an 8.2 aftershock that triggers a tsunami.
  • The One World Trade Center becomes the tallest building in New York, overtaking the Empire State Building.
  • The chemical compound NOTT-202, capable of selectively absorbing carbon dioxide, is created.
  • Miami Heat win the 2012 NBA finals.
  • A gunman open fires at a Dark Knight movie premier in Colorado.
  • 2012 Summer Olympics are held in London.
  • Teachers hold an 8-day strike in Chicago until the Chicago Teacher's Union and Chicago Public Schools were able to reach an agreement.
  • Hurricane Sandy wreaks havoc on New Jersey resulting in 110 deaths and $50 billion in damage.
  • Barack Obama wins the 2012 Presidential Election.
  • Gunman open fires on students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, CT killing 26

...and to top it all off, the end of the world is supposedly right around the corner!...

So what's next?  What does the future look like?  Well, nobody knows...except God, of course.  But even though we don't know, we can make our best predictions--which is what Tom Vander Ark does in his book, Getting Smart: How Digital learning is Changing the World.  Vander Ark is the former executive director for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is currently the CEO of Open Education Solutions, chair of the International Association for K-12 online learning, and blogs daily at www.gettingsmart.com.  Here are a few of his predictions:

In one year...

"...Common Core State Standards will spark a new wave of venture and philanthropic investment in digital content, resulting in engaging and innovative adaptive content libraries and mobile apps."

 

In five years...

"...most learning platforms will feature a smart recommendation engine, similar to iTunes Genius, that will build recommended learning experiences for students."

"...half of states and districts will stop buying print textbooks and will shift to customizable digital texts and open education resources."

"...innovative mobile learning models used in India will be adopted by several U.S. districts."

"...blended high-tech, hands-on school models in urban areas will leverage community resources, including employers, public transit, museums, theaters, and parks."

"...fifty of the largest one hundred districts will, on a regular basis, close struggling schools and replace them with blended charter or contract schools, expand access to online courses, and embrace school networks."

"...budget woes will cause hundreds of districts and most charter networks to move to blended models, shifting to online instruction for a portion of the day to boost learning and operating productivity."

"...those learning at home through homeschooling and virtual charter schools will double to six million students, or about 10% of all students."

 

In ten years...

"...most U.S. students will attend a blended school where students report to a physical space and most learning happens online."

"...with a decade of data, second-generation recommendation engines will drive tutoring applications that are more effective than one-on-one sessions with a live tutor."

"...despite generally flat funding for education, the U.S. K-12 instructional materials and related technologies market will grow by more than 50%--an explosion of digital services will offset the decline of print."

Use this time to start easing your school into the use of online and blended learning models.  Stay ahead of the game and adequately prepare your students for a future filled with technology.

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Jenna is a former middle school English teacher who has a passion for technology!  She is the current Director of SBACS Virtual Academy and completely understands the movement to a web-based educational system.  "Blended learning is a not a trend, it is the future of education and school leaders must be willing to embrace this movement in order to continue to advance Christian education."  Read her thoughts on all things related to online learning here!

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